Saturday, May 30, 2009

Polarizing Filter--Shadow Shot

I walked around Bishop City Park while Hubby napped in the Van. I noticed that the shrubs were casting shadows on the stream bed.
I wondered, what would happen if I used the polarizing filter on the shot?
The shadows disappeared and were replaced by reflections. It also made the greens darker and more blue. The first photo is close to what my eyes saw.
For more shadows check out Hey Harriet.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Owens Valley Clouds

We went to Los Angeles over Memorial Day and returned home via the Eastern Sierra.
We had more of the early monsoon weather. The evening clouds were precipitating but the rain didn't hit the ground (a phenomenon called virga)
Clouds over the Inyos and Sierra Nevada near Owens Lake.

For more skies, click here.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mono Lake Storm

We drove down from the cabin hoping for some great shots of the tufa towers. When we got to the overlook it was obvious that on this day the storm clouds not the tufas were the story.
Unusual for May, a monsoonal flow had move in from the southwest.
Many great pictures have been taken of these formations with sunlight shinning on them but sunlight was in short supply this day.
We'll be back, it is only 20 minutes from the cabin and besides, the birding will be better in summer and fall.
For more information on Mono Lake, check out Wiki here.
For more great sky shot, click here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bluebird Update

So far all is well with the little bluebirds.
In here, Dad.
Make sure it goes all the way down,
Come back soon.
The goldfinch watches from the crepe myrtle.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spring Thaw on Virginia Lakes

We had our first trip of the season to our summer cabin. The cabin is in the Eastern Sierra Nevada near several lakes. Big Virgina and Little Virgina are lakes you can drive to, for the rest you must hike. There is still to much snow for hiking but it is melting fast.
Big Virginia is at the trail head, 9600 feet.
Little Virgina is about 50 feet lower and the ice is almost gone. You see more snow because you are looking at a north facing slope, the shot of Big Virginia was a more south facing slope where the snow melts earlier.

It won't be long, the ice and snow will soon be gone.
For more Watery sites and sights, click here.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Calaveras--Beyond the Trees

This park is about more than just the trees. We camped beside this lovely meadow.
Pioneers had drained the meadow but the park is trying to restore it to its natural state.
They have a boardwalk which protects the meadow while providing a close-up view. Few flowers were blooming but I saw an abundance of lupin and yarrow along with many other plants I couldn't identify. I'm sure this meadow will be full of flowers next month.
At the edge of the meadow we saw this post and a chickadee who seemed to think it looked like a good place to nest.
The Stanislaus river runs through the park. Some places it bounds over rocks,
in other places it flows calmly along.
There is a very interesting interpretive trail across a volcanic formation. The trail guide explains how successive depositions of volcanic mud and ash created the Merhten Formation, here crossed by the trail.
The ancient river was able to cut through these layers but later lava flows filled the river's channel. The lava was much harder than the Merhten Formation and the river cut a new channel next to the old one exposing bluffs of both the lava and ash.
Springs arising in these layers create lovely rock gardens in the early spring.

For more of the World, click here.

Calaveras Big Trees--the Trees

The reason for the park is, of course, to protect the trees. So tall are they, that I had to make a composite to get the whole tree in one picture. Although Augustus Dowd didn't truly "discover" the trees, it was he who brought them to the attention of the world in 1853.
Of course some enterprising individuals had to find a way to exploit the discovery
so they cut down the "Discovery Tree", removed the bark and reassembled it for a traveling exhibition. It took five men 22 days to do the deed. At its base it was over 25 feet in diameter, large enough that they built a dance pavilion on top of its stump and a bowling lane on the log.
In death, these fallen giants provide a nursery for new life. Here a young dogwood is growing on a fallen tree.
This tree "The Mother of the Forest" had its bark removed while it was left standing. Killed by the loss of its bark, it later burned.
Another indignity suffered by these mighty trees, a tunnel was cut through this one.
The tree struggles to survive with one limb alive at the very top.
Years of fire suppression has resulted in a build up of fuel. Foresters have come to realize that they can't prevent forest fires but the can make them manageable by burning off underbrush at times of their choosing. We came upon this management fire at the end of the road. We watched as the crew built bonfires of small shrubs and low branches in hopes of preventing a catastrophic fire in the future.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bluebird box

I put up this nest box two years ago and the bluebirds raised a brood successfully. The swallows came later and it was too hot, the nestlings died.
Last year it turned hot so early that even the blue birds were unable to raise their young.
When we came home yesterday to a weather forecast of triple digit temperatures I wanted to do something to give them a chance. I had already planted a small lemon tree to the west of the nest box but that wouldn't help this years young. I made a sunshade that was quick to install so as not to disturb the birds more than necessary.
While I waited to see if the parents would continue to feed their young, this phoebe came to call.
The parents didn't miss a beat. They continued to come to the box as if nothing had changed. Now the question is will it be enough? If these hatchlings die should I remove the box. Perhaps some of you more experienced birders will have a suggestion.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Calaveras Big Trees

Hubby and I went to Calaveras Big Trees State Park for a few days of camping. We hadn't been here before and we had a great time.

The skies are beautiful here in the California Gold Country
but the real draw are the giant sequoia. There are 75 groves of giant sequoia left in California. The most famous are in Sequoia National Park but there are also groves in Yosemite, here at Calaveras Big Trees and at few other places.
I'll show you more of the park in a later post.
To see more skies click here.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lincoln Library

No Mr. Linky this week as we are off exploring new territory. I left this for those who might happen by anyway.

When we moved to Lincoln five years ago the only library was this small Carnegie Library. It may have been adequate at one time but Lincoln has grown and something new was needed.

They broke ground on this shortly after we moved. It has at least 20 computers and a state of the art self check-out. The site is eventually to house a high school and community college satellite. I hope that when they are built they suit the site as well.

The building sits on the edge of a seasonal wetland and only the areas right against the building are landscaped and this is mostly unmowed grasses and a few low water, well mulched plants. The glass in these cubes is heavily tinted and faces north and east. The clerestory windows have fixed awnings. This allows maximum light with minimum heat.

This is the south west exposure, few windows and much masonry.

And I like the sculpture, too.

I enjoy this library and visit often.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Monochrome Library

I thought our new public library would be a good subject for a monochrome shot.

I took my polarizing filter and shot in raw.
I'm pleased with how they came out, I think it is a beautiful building, and well suited to its site at the edge of rolling, seasonal wetlands.
For more of the Monochrome Maniacs, click here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


We went looking for sky shots and found a shadow shot.

I told Hubby "Don't move, I've got to get this shot!"